Burmese migrant workers arriving at a DKBA border checkpoint in Myawaddy are being offered membership of the ethnic armed group if they are unable to pay the checkpoint fees.

Migrant workers offered recruitment into DKBA
Mon 27 Apr 2009, IMNA
Burmese migrant workers arriving at a DKBA border checkpoint in Myawaddy are being offered membership of the ethnic armed group if they are unable to pay the checkpoint fees.

The workers are returning to Burma following arrest and deportation by the Thai authorities and must pass DKBA checkpoint 999 to avoid arrest as illegal migrants at the official Burmese border post. According to a local businessman, the migrants must pay the DKBA 1200 Baht and those who are unable to pay are offered two choices: work for the group to earn the fee or be recruited as a soldier.

“Some of them get friendly with the DKBA soldiers while they’re working for them. They don’t want to return to Burma and they don’t want to work in Thailand either. Therefore, many of them join the DKBA,” said the businessman.

According to a member of the Karen Peace Front (KPF), the Thai authorities are sending between 50 and 150 Burmese migrant workers through Myawaddy every day. Many of them arrive at the DKBA checkpoint without the means to pay. Some can contact family or friends to assist but around 10% are unable to do so and are therefore candidates for recruitment.

One recent recruit said, “The DKBA did not force me to join their army. I couldn’t pay at the checkpoint so they gave me work to earn the money I owed them and said I could join them afterwards if I wanted to. They gave me a uniform without any questions. Right now many DKBA soldier have to go to the frontline so they’re recruiting new troops.”


Will NLD plenum provide a breakthrough?

U Nyan Win party spokesman

Q: Why did you call this meeting?

A: It can be called the annual plenary meeting but this is a regular annual meeting. We have held such meeting four times. The timing of the meeting is in accordance with the situation.

Q: Who are entitled to attend this meeting as there are comments circulating regarding invitation to the meeting?

A: All elected MPs, five Organizing Committee members from each State and Division unit, three from Central Women’s Organization and three from Youth organisations. That’s all.

Q: Is it mandatory for these Chairmen and Secretaries of each State and Division Organizing Committees to attend this meeting?

A: No, we just said five delegates from each State and Division Organizing Committee in our Invitation.
continue http://www.mizzima.com/edop/opinion/2012-will-nld-plenum-provide-a-breakthrough.html

The Burmese military junta is preparing to form village councils throughout Arakan State comprised of pro-tatmadaw people in order to win the 2010 election in Arakan, said a senior clerk from the Maungdaw district office on the condition of anonymity.

“We were ordered by the high authority from Arakan State to send the list of the new village councils from every village in Maungdaw Township within the month in order to reform the village councils in the near future,” he said.

Members of the new village councils will need to meet five requirements – they must be pro-army, they must be respected by others, they must have a fine character, they must possess a mid-level education, and they must not be former village council members.

“We were told by the high authority to select those people who are supporters of the Burmese army to serve on the village councils. Most retired soldiers from Burma will be able to serve as members of the new village councils around Arakan State,” said the clerk.

According to a local source, some officials from the township administrative office and some members from the USDA in Maungdaw Township are now compiling the lists for new village councils.

Authorities have already formed the new pro-military councils in some villages in Maybon and Buthiduang Townships.

The Burmese military junta is currently taking many steps to prepare for the 2010 election in Arakan. The junta also recently announced that it will be constructing a hydropower plant and a railway route to help develop the state.

Many analysts believe that the recent development work is an effort to lure Arakanese people into supporting the junta in the 2010 election. The recent plans to form new village councils with army supporters is another attempt to bolster their chances in the upcoming elections.
Imna News

Suu Kyi party members meet

YANGON – MEMBERS of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party came from across Myanmar on Monday to discuss elections planned for next year by the ruling junta, a spokesman said.
Around 100 members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) gathered at party headquarters in Myanmar’s largest city ahead of a full meeting starting on Tuesday, said spokesman Nyan Win.

The detained Nobel Peace Laureate’s party has not yet said whether it will take part in the general elections – which critics say are a sham aimed at entrenching the power of Myanmar’s military government.

‘About 100 party members have come to headquarters. We invited organisers from states and divisions (around the country). Now we will prepare for tomorrow’s meeting,’ Mr Nyan Win told AFP.

‘We will discuss about the coming elections. We cannot say whether we will make decisions, it will be known after the discussions,’ he added.

He said the meeting of party members from around Myanmar was usually an annual event, but did not take place last year.

The NLD won a landslide victory in the country’s last elections in 1990 but the ruling generals refused to let the party take office.

The military has announced the polls next year under its so-called ‘roadmap to democracy’. Diplomats say the junta may be aiming for a date in March 2010.

The polls are set to be held under a new constitution that was approved in May last year, days after Cyclone Nargis devastated southern regions of the country and left 138,000 people dead or missing.

Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962 and is under tough sanctions imposed by the US and European countries because of its human rights records and continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi. — AFP

NARGIS ANNIVERSARY Water Woes Still Plague Nargis Survivors

Those who survived the initial fury of the disaster soon faced—ironically enough—a lack of potable water. Wells and ponds, traditional sources of fresh water, had been inundated by the inflow of seawater. Water containers, which are typically large ceramic jars or clay pots, were smashed in the devastation. Long lines of survivors, carrying whatever containers they had in order to get water, became a familiar sight immediately after recovery efforts began.
In hindsight, the cyclone highlighted in the cruelest fashion the delicate balance between man and water in the delta. The fertile soil, availability of water and ample supply of labor once made this area the rice bowl of the world. The waters of the delta also supported rich fish and shrimp farms as well as natural salt farms. continue

The Statement by the Secretary-General of ASEAN on the Outbreak of Swine Influenza

ASEAN Secretariat, 27 April 2009

Over the weekend, governments and health authorities worldwide went on the alert brought about by outbreaks of Swine Influenza in humans. With several human deaths confirmed in Mexico and a number of confirmed cases in the United States, the World Health Organization declared this situation a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

ASEAN Member States are now intensifying surveillance, coordinating and collaborating in the sharing of pertinent information, raising public awareness and taking necessary precautionary public health measures.

ASEAN Member States are better prepared now following the experience from recent SARS and avian influenza outbreaks. ASEAN has the existing mechanisms and networks for strengthening preparedness and response to a possible pandemic. Key initiatives such as the establishment of the ASEAN Technical Working Group on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, ASEAN Communication and Integration Strategy, Minimum Standards for Joint Outbreak Investigation and Response, and the Non-Health Indicators for Pandemic Preparedness and Response will be contributory to addressing the current threats of an influenza pandemic.

should better public awareness for Burmese political prisoners…

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